At the risk of downvoting and some snarky comments here are some recent observations:
1) It is free - which has pros and cons - trolls and spam have of late increased! That comes with the territory. It might be worth having everybody sign up in order to post.
2) Many of the best posts it seems were posted (at least by # votes) were from a year ago (a few from this year).
3) Non-targeted ads - it would be useful to see US Wellness Meats, coconut oil, or other Paleo-friendly ads - but Pharma drugs and surgery (I don't think so)!!
4) Some of the top PH posters (reputation score) already have their own blogs, books, following etc. It seems more useful to keep up to date with RSS feeds. Ex: Melissa McEwen, Kamal, Dr. Kruse etc.
5) Repetitious questions - here is the formula:
a) Please hack _ (fill in the blank - designated body part or lab test)
b) What's wrong with (fill in the blank - some pseudo/engineered or questionable food such as
chia seeds, natto, gluten, grains, quinoa, carbs, etc.)
c) Help - can't lose weight - Oh and I like eating 2 cups of nuts, diet soda daily, and I can't sleep etc ...
6) People dissing Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson - whoever - nobody's a God or infallible but the fact is some of these leaders in the field who have helped to reach a broader audience have influenced more people then some random user on PH (not trying to burst people's bubble but in some cases it is very true). Constructive criticism is useful but that's what is should be.
I've been on PH over a year (less then a year registered) but read posts a year before I signed up but maybe I've learned so much from the old posts I feel my time spend here is worth much less than as newbie (I think it could be very helpful for a newbie). But if newbies are spending time filtering through trolls/spam it could get tedious and more of value to read the traditional Paleo/Primal/Ancestral books and blogs.
On the other hand:
1) There are some phenomenally well-written posts, comments, and links to great info
2) I've gotten some interesting ideas and brainstormed some food for thought (no pun intended). But I wonder if the value drops as self-learning increases.
3) Obscure questions get answered (if they get answered) here probably better than anywhere else
I think paleo hacks could benefit from subsections myself.
*General nutritional discussion
*Illness related discussion
*Omega ratios & Inflammation
*Immune system & Bacteria
*Sleep/light/barefoot/paleo lifestyle (nopoo, biswak, whatever)
*Low carb paleo
*Whole 30/perfect health/primal/anscetral and other variants
*Supplements and herbs
*Recipes and food ideas/food and meal talk
Or something like that.
I think some of the interesting discussions get pushed to the bottom because of more standard questions. If there was sections, the more interesting questions would get more air time.
Paleotalks subforum is a good idea too. Be good if not everything had to be a question.
I'm relatively new to the site but I think a more advanced search feature or some better organization of past questions would greatly improve Paleohacks. How could we get a boolean search feature or some kickass index of previous questions? It might cut down on the repetitive / neophyte questions.
I also have a love / hate relationship with this site. Some people are so generous with their knowledge and freely offer incredibly useful information. Others sit in their grassfed towers pouring boiling bone broth on the poor newbie masses.
I also think it would be nice if questions that have already been asked are not closed. Sometimes a new and different perspective could be just the ticket for someone. It just seems silly and trite to close a question for that reason if it's been at least a few months in between. Just my input.
I've only been here for a few months, and I can tell you what's already getting on my nerves: the questions that begin with "Does anybody else experience [insert form of social ostracism here]?" In general, I find questions that start with "Does anybody else [blank]" to be pointless and clearly intended to shore up the self-esteem of the poster or fill silence. They don't teach the other members anything, which is the point of Paleohacks -- or so I thought.
This is one of the things I have long appreciated about Ask Metafilter: all the members have to pay a (tiny) 5 dollar membership fee, and questions that begin with "Does anybody else..." are not allowed, period. The quality of the discussion is much better as a result. Quality discussion attracts quality posters, and quality posters mean better questions and better answers. It's a self-feeding mechanism.
The next area for improvement I can see is in the software. Paleohacks uses the Stackexchange engine, but it's clearly an archaic version of it. Would it cost anything to use the newer one? (Perhaps it isn't under a public licence, I don't know). In any event, the search tools and formatting features are much better with the current software, and the new engine even supports chat, which I think would go a really long way to reducing the number of "Does anybody else [blank]" questions (can you tell I'm very fond of those? ;) ).
Finally -- perhaps this is a "nice to have" -- a simple private messaging feature would be really helpful, if only to have a reasonably secure way to exchange e-mail addresses.
To get back to the question -- if Paleohacks is in decline, it's because it's not evolving. It's free, so I suppose I can't complain too much, but Stackexchange is also free, and it's improved immensely since its inception.
It would be nice to see Paleohacks do the same.
PS: I don't see any advertising because I use Firefox and Adblock Plus.
Well, to be honest, part of the lack of new posts is due to the fact that a question will be closed, if something very similar has been asked, even if it was asked a year ago. Also, questions that are not really "questions," but maybe PaleoHacks could be branched off into a separate "PaleoTalks" forum. Mark's Daily Apple has a good forum, but it really is geared towards "Primal" way of eating, and not "Paleo," as in Whole 9, Whole 30, or Cordain style. I don't think that this site is meant "for profit," so perhaps some benevolent individual will take it upon themselves to create a free, non-registered user, chat-forum?
I been on this site for a long time. I used to post a lot. I don't write much anymore because there aren't very many questions worth answering.
I think the issue is simply that there isn't that much to talk about once you've got the basics down. Yeah you can discuss some side issues but really what else is there to say? If you wanna feel better than you prolly do on the SAD, avoid grains, legumes, and dairy.
I don't follow any of those rules anymore which is kind of why I don't post much.
I've noticed these things, too. I think it's somewhat cyclical. I definitely have a love-hate relationship with paleohacks. Sometimes there are awesome questions and answers, but sometimes it seems like there are a lot of trite questions and/or snarky responders. I try my best to ignore the people who seem bent on getting a rise out of people.
As for the spam lately, I think it's an effort from a small group of people (or just one person). If we ignore it, keep on voting to close their posts, and continue to post good questions (there have been some interesting ones, lately), then I think the spammer(s) will get bored.
Yeah, I agree there is good and bad here. I skim for info and try to help where I can but I have been responded to in rude ways. Let's just say I don't put as much value in paleohacks since the rudeness or the cutting down of people like Sisson, Kruse, and Wolff. It is unnecessary and looks worse for the site. It makes it look like the site is taken over by people that would rather be mean than to just be respectful of one another. We have a greater enemy out there with big agriculture, big pharma and the so called food industry. We need to come together. But, alas, I don't think that kumba ya moment will happen here on Paleohacks.